Are you looking for the ideal guinea pig for your family? Are you looking for a guinea pig that is easy to care for and excellent around children? If so, read on as everything about guinea pig breeds is made easy!

There are approximately seven main guinea pig breeds and ten types of coloration. This may seem confusing but all you really need to know is this – the main difference between all guinea pig breeds is essentially hair length and hair type. Unlike other types of pets (like cats or dogs), the differences between breeds when it comes to personality and health are minimal. Rest assured that you will be making a decision based primarily on what appearance appeals to you, how much time you are willing to spend grooming your piggy, and ease of handling.

Guinea pigs typically have either long or short hair. Short haired guinea pigs will require the least amount of grooming to keep their coats looking clean, tidy, and shiny. Long haired guinea pigs will require nightly grooming or significant tangles will develop. Certain Long haired specialty breeds may even need grooming products to detangle their hair and add shine. It is also important to note that longer haired breeds, especially those with very shiny hair, are a little more slippery when being handled. If you have younger children in your home, it is recommended that you choose a breed with short hair to avoid your piggy being dropped accidentally.

Short Haired Guinea Pig Breeds:

Abyssinian – Abyssinians are a very popular show breed known for their rosettes (sections of hair that grows in a swirling pattern with an easily identified center.) To be considered “ideal” for showing, an Abyssinian must have exactly ten rosettes across the body, although eight is also considered acceptable. The Abyssinian requires the most grooming care of all the short haired breeds as the different hair growth directions can be more difficult to deal with.

American – This is what most people think of when they think “guinea pig.” The American is known for having short, smooth hair that lies close to the body. This breed is ideal for young children and anyone short on time.

Teddy – The Teddy is a short haired breed with fuzzy hair and named for its close resemblance to the “teddy bear.”

Long Haired Guinea Pig Breeds:

Peruvian – Peruvians are known for their beautiful hair which can grow to over a foot in length and falls in gentle sweeps from a main central part.

Silkie – The Silkie looks very similar to the Peruvian but instead of having a natural center part, the hair falls into a mane down the back of the body. When viewed from above the Silkie looks tear drop shaped.

Texel – Texels have long curly hair, a compact body, and a broad head. The hair of the Texel is especially prone to tangling, so this breed is likely best for hobbyists and not the casual family.

Heather is a life long guinea pig lover. For more great information on guinea pig breeds visit the Guinea Pig Resource Center for more information and don’t forget to sign up for their free newsletter!